Fun Fact Friday – WEEK 167
Sometimes the Best Teethers Aren’t Teethers at All!
Now we’re at the end of our teething series, we take a quick glance at what we’ve covered so far. We also take a look at everything that is a teether, but not designed to be a teether. From teething jewellery and food feeders to foods and fabric. Then there are the teethers that you didn’t know about – the secret teethers.
This week’s fact marks the end of our series on teething – all twelve episodes of them. Let’s take a look at what we’ve covered so far.
We started off by finding out that some babies are born with teeth and when each pearly white is due to make an appearance. That was also the week when we first introduced you to our super simple teeth arrival chart – which you can download completely free – there’s also this GIF!
In our second episode in the teething series, we discovered that we used to think teething was a deadly ailment, along with how they used to treat it with direct intervention by cutting the gums of teething children in a process called lancing.
The third chapter delved into the world of opium. “What’s that got to do with teething?” I hear you ask. Well… Opium was the drug of choice for teething babies in the Victorian era. Whilst it fell out of favour in the early 1900s, it was still available over the counter until, as late as 1986.
We carried on the drugs for teething topic in the fourth week, with our discovery that teething powders used to be full of mercury – Yes! The potent neurotoxin, Mercury. The same ingredient that made hatters go mad.
The fifth instalment carried on with the “dodgy drugs in our kiddies’ medicine” theme. This time we looked at how cocaine became the drug of choice and how it led to modern dentistry anaesthetics. We also noted how marketers thought it would be a good idea to directly target cocaine at children.
Alcohol carried on the drugs for children theme in the sixth episode. We discovered that alcohol was one of the most popular baby drugs in modern history. Alcohol for babies was available on shelves in the UK until the mid-1990s. That former alcoholic medicine is still one of the most popular baby remedies today.
We departed from the baby drugs for the seventh teething episode. We discovered that teething may actually be painless. We explored the reasons why this may be the case and what other things could be causing many of the symptoms associated with teething.
The eighth instalment revisited cocaine’s descendants. We uncovered that they had found their way into modern teething gels. We found out how dangerous they can be when used wrongly, and how manufacturers and regulators are treating it similarly to how opium was 100 years ago!
Number nine in our teething series looked at modern teething powders. We took a deep dive into the two market leaders – Nelsons and Ashton Parsons. We looked at their ingredients and what they actually contained. One of them, it appeared, may not even contain the active ingredient that it’s advertised to.
Our tenth episode began looking at what parents could do to directly help their little ones and there weren’t as many as you’d expect. In that episode, we covered those that are available, from administering medications, the use of essential oils and whether or not the use of amber has any benefits.
In our penultimate teething episode of the series, we looked at the multitude of available teethers. We explained the differences between their materials and shapes and what to look out for when purchasing your own. We also share a story of how a late night, online, a teether purchase went wrong. But, in a rather amusing way.
We’re leaving you this week with more teethers. But unlike last week, most of today’s teethers double up as something else or aren’t teethers at all. Here we go…
If you’re an adult who wears jewellery and has held a teething child, there’s a good chance a piece of it has ended up covered in drool. Whilst this may be okay with some kinds of jewellery, most of the time it’s far from ideal and somewhat dangerous in other cases.
So, why not just wear jewellery that is completely safe and designed for your child to chew?
There’s loads of teething jewellery available for parents to wear. Most of it, however, is limited to necklaces and bangles. But, they come in a nearly infinite array of colours and styles, so you should be able to find one that suits you and your little one.
Food feeders come in two flavours, mesh ones and silicone ones.
The mesh ones are good for securing smaller foods and can be helpful to a teething child, especially if the food is chilled. But, in our opinion, when it comes to teething, you can’t beat the silicone ones, especially the ones with a single hole.
Most silicone feeders have multiple holes, which is great if you’re using them for food. But, not so great if you’re using them for teething. The smaller, or fewer, the holes – the longer that chilled, food-filled feeder will last.
Our favourite one was a munchkin silicone teether that only had one hole. This meant that after filling it with some frozen fruit, it would stay cool for some time, whilst also gradually doling out its contents. With hindsight, it makes me wonder if it was sweet induced analgesia from the fruit that was causing the calming, as opposed to the cold that we had initially thought. Hmmm…
If your child likes a certain food and it can be chilled or frozen in a manageable way, then it could be great when they are fractious. You can chill and freeze most fruits and vegetables. Chilled carrots – raw or pre-cooked – often get the top spot in the veg department. And frozen bananas, sliced mangoes and berries in a feeder get the top spots for fruit.
If you’re breastfeeding, then a great idea is to freeze expressed breastmilk. You could try freezing breastmilk into small cubes or even into lollies.
There are some foods that lend themselves really well to teething babies. Think sticks – breadsticks, cinnamon sticks, carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumber sticks, cheese sticks, walking sticks… Okay, maybe not the last one!
That reminds me of a joke: What’s brown and sticky? A stick!
You can also get teething biscuits, but watch out for the ones with loads of added nonsense ingredients. Look out for the ones that contain few ingredients – such as Bickiepegs – and avoid any with added sugar, sweeteners or salt. A quick google will also inundate you with recipes to make your very own.
Some children prefer fabric to chew on and will take a chew on any material that they can get their mitts on. From towels, muslins, bibs and soft toys to furniture, curtains and your favourite item of clothing. Much like food, lowering the temperature can add a pleasing new level.
But, how do you chill fabric? You’re not going to freeze your kiddies favourite soft toy or soak your favourite top in cold water.
Substituting those items for clean flannels or dishcloths could make that easier. They can be used wet, chilled or frozen. If you’re going to freeze them, remember to put ’em between wax paper in a resealable bag to stop them from sticking to each other or leaking in your freezer.
We were going to call this selection the “I forgot your teether, teethers” as these items were most often used when we were out and about and had forgotten the teether of choice!
Spoons! Wooden spoons, teaspoons, desert spoons, cold spoons, warm spoons – spoons, spoons, spoons!
Maybe we should have just called this section “Spoons” and left it there!
When you’re at a restaurant and have a teething child. Ask for a handful of teaspoons and a glass of iced water. You’ll always have a chilled spoon and you can easily rotate them.
Then there are the teethers that your child wants most. The ones that will become teethers the moment you look away or leave them in reach of your drooling bundle of erupting teeth: phones, remote controls, keys, shoes, dog toys… you get the idea.
Teethers come in all shapes, sizes and kinds. And the perfect teether isn’t always a teether.
Over the past few weeks we’ve tried to cover as many teething remedies as possible, you can bet there are a tonne that we’ve missed. Let us know in the comments if we have, not just for our benefit, but for everyone else that follows.
And that brings us to the end of our teething series. We’ve learnt a whole bunch researching for this series and we’ve completely changed our view of teething and the way we treat it. Thank you for joining us on this journey, we hope you’ve found it helpful and insightful.
If you’re a parent of a teething child and are finding it difficult, remember that this is just a stage. To get us through the trying times, we used this adage as a mantra:
“This too shall pass”